How Lindsey Graham & GOP lost the Chance to be Presidential over Charleston

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in my view never had any chance of becoming president, though he has thrown his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination. So it would be an overstatement to say that he lost the opportunity because of his maladroit response to the horrific act of racial terrorism committed by Dylann Roof in Charleston.

Since the core of the Republican Party is now white southerners, however (and this was visible when the party took a bath in 2008 and was largely reduced to congressional delegations from the South), Graham’s response to the attack tells us something key about the state of that party.

Graham defended flying the Confederate flag on the grounds of the statehouse, saying that it is “an integral part of who we are.”

As I pointed out a couple of days ago, however:

Some 73 percent of whites there believe that the Confederate flag should fly not just on the grounds of the statehouse but above its dome, as used to be the case a decade ago. 61% of African-Americans disagreed.

When Graham said “a part of who we are,” he was referring to South Carolinians who consider themselves white — and even about a quarter of those don’t agree that the Confederate flag should fly at the statehouse. The vast majority of African-Americans is on the other side of that issue. At this crucial juncture in our nation’s history, Graham was unable to speak for all the people of his state, much less all the people of our nation. He could only speak for the two-thirds of South Carolina that is white– and not even for all of them.

He also joined in GOP strategist and Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ despicable attempt to whitewash the racism of Roof’s attack by suggesting that this assault had targeted “Christians.” He said, ““But it’s 2015. There are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” Roof was himself a church member and could have found “Christians” closer at hand in his own congregation if those were his target. This meme was a contemptible attempt to hijack anti-Black violence for the ridiculous claim that Christians are discriminated against (e.g. when they aren’t allowed to themselves discriminate against gays) at the same time that it formed a sleight of hand designed to take attention off racial inequality. Roof said he wanted to start a race war because African-Americans had taken over his country.

Graham also suggested that Roof is mentally ill, despite there being no evidence for this assertion. He was eager to deny that the church shooting was a window into the soul of South Carolina (hell, it was window into the soul of the United States of America!) Graham raced ahead to #9 of my ways white terrorists are treated differently .

Graham also suggested intensive surveillance of people alleged to be mentally ill.

If Graham wants to be president, he has to be president of all Americans, not just of people from his state or of white people or Republicans. He hasn’t acted like a president of all the people in the USA. He acted like a caste leader attempting to preserve the prerogatives of his caste in India. And, what GOP candidate– Rick Perry? has been any better?

Related video:

RAW STORY: “Lindsey Graham reacts to church shooting on ABC’s The View

22 Responses

  1. Actually what surprised me is that only 61% of blacks disagreed with flying the confederate flag. That’s 39% if blacks, over one in three, who either support or don’t oppose it. I’d have thought that number would be a lot higher. With 75% white support that’s a majority by my count.

  2. That flag, flying up high over the dead bodies of our beloved brothers and sisters, has more meaning than ever; ignoring it will not do away with the bad consequences to our Nation.

  3. I get the point here about people’s reluctance to call this heinous crime a racist and hateful thing. I still feel that anyone for whatever motive has to be truly insane to murder innocent people living their lives as allowed.

    • What about soldiers? Are they insane?? Or ia something else driving their ability to kill?

  4. How can Lindsey Graham make such clumsy, tactless, ignorant and insensitive remarks and truly represent the 99% of South Carolinians? And, another ignorant, useless, wealthy, powerful individual thinks he can become President?

    I’m wonder how many Congress members are also useless, ignorant, harmful, powerful and wealthy clowns or gangsters?

    As I commented on Jun 15, “Americans need to get the wealthy and powerful out of their government.”

    Rewrite for Grahum. Americans need to get the wealthy, powerful and ignorant gangsters and clowns out of our American governments: federal, state, county and local.

    “America needs elected and appointed government personnel that are honest, intelligent, not overly educated and “come from the 99% of Americans”. I believe many that come from wealthy and powerful families have proven to lack real honesty, wisdom, heart, intelligence and common sense. Some of these traits are not supported in our educational system.”

    The world is changing. Competition needs to be replaced with cooperation–real humanity. The world must focus on humanity or else we will “progress into extinction”.

    link to

    • I believe many that come from wealthy and powerful families have proven to lack real honesty, wisdom, heart, intelligence and common sense.

      Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin and the Koch Brothers) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-ditto) are two examples of working class progeny who have sold and continue to sell workers down the river.

  5. The Republican Party, if one looks closely or not so closely, at it one will see few black faces among its ranks. There is a reason for this. The Republican Party courts the white racist vote, a vestige of our sad Anti-Bellum Civil War South this time in the state of South Carolina which has the dubious distinction of being the first to secede from the Union in that era.

    The Republican Party is happy to welcome disaffected white racists who think the election of a half black president gives them license to appeal to those Confederate flag wavers north AND south to send a message that the nation is being taken over by persons of color and that something must be done to stop it. The Party of interposition and nullification then is the party of it now as they block and gum-up-the-works of everything the half black president wants to pass. The president, to his detriment, tries to play in their neighborhood but they do not want him. They have kicked dirt in his face by rejecting or stalling nearly everything he wants.

    The racism they protest for the shootings and killing of innocent church goers and their minister is the protest of hypocrites. Steven Scalise, the new House majority whip of the GOP-dominated Congress, spoke at a gathering hosted by white supremacist leaders in 2002 but, no matter, he was kept on as Republican majority whip in Congress. Republicans who protest what happened at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church yesterday are hypocrites. White supremacy is alive and well in this nation and is given a place of honor in the larger Republican Party.

    What message does this send to persons of color in our nation? It sends the message that the Republican Party does not want them in it except a few, of course, for television image. The media and others will bloviate non-stop about how this hate must change. They are the mendacious bloviations of showmen and other charlatans who do not mean a word of it.

    The Republican Party salt and peppers in a few persons of color when its candidates speak in front of a TV camera but the true change of ideological systemic belief that is needed to right this morally putrefied Party would make an already compromised Party useless and that cannot happen fast enough for me

  6. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina and Israel) is a robot and another example of what a farce the 2016 presidential election is.

  7. Former three-term Texas governor “Oops” Perry labeled the hateful assassinations in Charleston an “accident” and increasing measures for firearms controls as a “liberal knee-jerk.”

    Texas recently enacted new “Open Carry” laws to allow firearms to be present in many more institutions, establishments and public locations within the state.

    Texas has a gun abundant incident reaching national attention frequently prior to the enactment of these less restrictive firearms laws. it is simply a matter of time before deaths of innocent, unarmed persons becomes more common in Texas.

    Given the rhetoric from these NRA donations pandering right-wing extremist candidates, it is time to seriously question their actual motivation to ramp up firearms advocacy, nationally.

    More guns is not an answer and a genuine threat to every sane, law-abiding person in our country.

    (As a side-note, about one in five emergency rooms in Texas will accept a patient with a gun shot wound.)

  8. It’s Senator What’s His Name from South
    Carolina during the Sixties all over again.
    Actually, as I recall, he was flapping his
    bigoted gums in the Senate from the Fifties
    thru the Nineties.

  9. These candidates never had any ability to be presidential in my mind. I have not seen a worthy Republican candidate since I can’t remember when. But being presidential and becoming president is not the same thing. See W. Bush for example. Moreover, I am not able to recognize whether something is good politics (or not) for Republicans. As I see it, the Republicans are in a parallel universe that is outside of the one I am in. A Manichaean understanding of the universe is a guiding principle for Republicans. For them, there is the goodly (Godly) and the rest is evil. Perhaps Daesh is a pure example of taking this philosophy to the hilt?

  10. How anyone can even contemplate voting for Graham is a mystery to people who live outside the USA. He has never used a gram of brainpower or understanding in any of his pronouncements or suggestions on any matter.

  11. Pose this question to each and every Republican candidate:

    Do blacks, Latinos, gays, Moslems, and Socialists have the exact same right to form and operate armed militias as white Christian conservatives?

    Any answer to this question will cost you delegates, or destroy you in the general election. Make the bastards own the logical basis of the racist past they romanticize.

  12. Mr. Storm Roof’s manifesto apparently was found on his website,

    link to

    It’s an amazing body of self-serving lies. Like he accomplished the feat of using the fewest possible brain cells to justify slavery and genocide via self-pity, Internet myths and cut & paste “facts”. Without the carefully lawyered provisos that Overton-sliding Fox racists use to say they only want to discipline blacks, not oppress them, Mr. Storm Roof follows the logic of his hatred to where he really intends to end up: that blacks can only live among us as slaves or not at all.

    Too bad he’s just a cowardly as Anders Breivik, who also chickened out after writing a manifesto for his glorious “suicide” mission.

  13. The gaggle of right-wing extremist Presidential candidates are currently focusing on the Confederate flag as a meaningful campaign issue. This is their media-driven diversion to distract from the actual need to address sensible firearms control and the pig ignorance which feeds racism/h8.

    Any candidates addressing the actual issues directly would lose the votes of the vast majority of potential voters who EMBRACE RACISM and love their guns – their primary constituency.

    So, their focus is on some irrelevant flag and that black guy in “their” White House who cannot run for President, again.

    No FAUXNews viewers votes will be lost that way.

  14. The mere fact that Lindsey Graham and other Repubican leaders are hesitant to call this atrocity an act of racism speaks volumes about the base of their party, whom they do not wish to offend. “Anti-Christian” is the last thing that was on Roof’s mind.

    • Completely agree. It’s almost even a joke or supreme ignorance that Graham could think this was an anti-Christian act by Roof. Either Graham is utterly ignorant or he knows his followers are completely ignorant as to what the differences are between left and right wing. The right is UBER Christian as a matter of fact the National Front aka Nazi’s belong to a church called Church of Jesus Christ Christian. So what the hell is that ignorant know nothing talking about?

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